Saint Vincent de Paul, a biography 01 – A childhood spent in the country

Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoVincent de PaulLeave a Comment

Author: José María Román, C.M. · Translator: Joyce Howard, D.C.. · Year of first publication: 1981.
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First part: His childhood ‑ History is silent (1581‑1600)

Chapter I: A childhood spent in the country

It can be said of many famous people that the part of their life that we know least about is their childhood. This is very true of St. Vincent de Paul. Who would be interested enough to note down for history the comings and goings of an insignificant country lad? Was this boy not destined to lead the same obscure existence as generation after generation of his forebears? Would he not turn out to be just another faceless peasant worn down by the exhausting labour of struggling to cultivate land that was barren? Yet the day would come when millions of people would look back, with interest, at the little French village that witnessed the first steps taken by a man whose fame has spread beyond all frontiers, and who, after four centuries, continues to challenge the passage of time.

A disputed date.

The first problem we have with Vincent’s childhood is the exact date of his birth. Up to about sixty years ago there was absolutely no doubt that the saint was born on Easter Tuesday, 24th April, 1576. This was affirmed by his first biographer, Abelly.1 Even before this work, Vincent’s date of birth was reckoned to be 1576. Carved on is tombstone were the words, “Died 27th September, 1660, aged 85 years”.2 The same information is repeated in other contemporary documents ‑ in the weekly “La Gazette de France” and in “Muze historique”, by the poet, Jean Loret. Both these publications appeared in October, 1660.3 From that time onward this same date was used in biographies and official documents.

In 1922, Father Pierre Coste published a documented study with the strange title, “The true date of Vincent de Paul’s birth”.4 He showed that contrary to traditional and universally held belief, Vincent de Paul was not born in 1576, but five years later, in 1581. Coste’s argument was simple but solid and convincing, since it was based on the actual words of the man whose biography he was writing. His proposition can be summarised as follows; throughout the course of his long life, Vincent, himself, makes twelve statements about his age. All these references point to 1581 as being the year he was born. And who better than Vincent would know how old he was?5

In spite of the difficulties implicit in Coste’s theory, and particulary the question of how old the saint was when he was ordained to the priesthood, (a subject that will be discussed in more detail later on), the theory seemed to be based on such solid reasoning that once the work was published, his proposition was accepted in almost every detail by historians, biographers and ecclesiastical authorities alike. The only weak spot in Coste’s interpretation is that the author understood Vincent to be speaking of incomplete, not completed years, whenever the saint referred to his age and this is a point that has not been fully substantiated. If we accept the latter part of this hypothesis, then the references quoted by Coste lead inevitably to the year 15806, and there are other powerful arguments for preferring this date. In any event, the old date of 1576 has now been discarded once and for all. The mistake that all former historians made in favouring the earlier date is understandable, and there are no grounds for accusing the saint’s followers and his immediate successors of inventing a pious lie or of being deliberately misleading.Some zealous biographers have made this charge and it isimplied by Coste himself.7

The only reliable document that the saint’s companions had which could determine his age, and consequently his date of birth, was the official document concerning his ordination to the priesthood, and this stated that in the year 1600 the ordinand, Vincent de Paul, was of lawful age; that is to say, he was twenty four years old. So all we need is a simple subtraction sum. The references that Vincent made to his age were not readily to hand and set down in chronological order. At best, people would remember the saint’s words but they would have been vague as to the precise dates when these statements were made. This is how the mistake came to be made and the error persisted until Coste conscientiously checked his sources.

It could be that the new offshoot of the humble de Paul family was baptised on the day he was born. With the baptismal waters he received the name Vincent; a name he was to keep all his life and the only name he would be known by. His patron saint was the deacon from Zaragoza who was martyred in Valencia. On one occasion, Vincent de Paul asked somebody of influence who had friends and acquaintances in Spain, if he would use his good offices to find out more information about the martyr than the scanty details given in the summary of his life.8

The years of Vincent’s childhood and adolescence, then, would have been the period 1581‑1600. What do we know about these first nineteen years? They were years which he spent exploring the world around him; key years for the development of his personality ‑ vital years, whose influence on the saint’s destiny has never been totally fathomed.

Apart from just a few quasi‑legal details, the only source of information about this stage in Vincent’s life is Abelly. In the early chapters of his book he brings together the limited source material which, after an interval of eighty years, might throw some light on Vincent’s childhood. These documents are no longer available.

One such source of information was provided by the reports sent by canon Jean de Saint Martin, an old friend of the saint. The canon took it on himself to go to the saint’s birthplace and find out what friends and relatives remembered about Vincent. Canon Saint Martin’s report is reliable,9 in spite of some mistakes in dates which are easily verifiable, such as the date of Vincent’s ordination to the subdiaconate and diaconate . The canon had belonged to the circle of Vincent’s closest friends and over a number of years he had acted as intermediary between Vincent and his family on a variety of matters. So, for example, in 1630 we find two members of the St. Martin family appointed executors for the goods that Vincent bequeaths to his brothers, sisters and nephews.10 In 1656, the same canon Saint Martin will be responsible for distributing among the relatives the sum of one thousand livres, which Vincent had received as a gift to be used for this purpose, from another friend of his, M. du Fresne.11

Moreover, one of the canon’s nephews married into the Comet family, and this family would have had more information than anybody else on the subject of Vincent’s early years since they had been the first patrons of the promising youngster. According to the second biographer, Canon Saint Martin’s memoirs comprise various manuscripts which were written by different people.12 So it is logical to suppose that some witnesses will be more reliable than others.

As well as the memoirs of Saint Martin; Abelly and Collet had at their disposal another manuscript about the family history of the Founder of the Mission. This manuscript is now lost but it used to be kept in the archives of Saint Lazare.13

Finally, Abelly also had the information that he himself had collected. He tells us, in the prologue to his work, that he had visited the Saint’s birthplace and had got to know Vincent’s closest relatives. He made this journey about the year 1639. He can therefore describe most of the things narrated in his book as, “Seen with my own eyes or heard with my own ears”.14 Let us now see what these sources have to tell us.

Rooted in the land

Vincent de Paul was French. He was a native of Pouy, a little village near Dax, in the Landes district of Gascony, not far from the Pyrenees15 Pouy, which since the nineteenth century has been renamed Saint Vincent de Paul, in honour of its most illustrious son, is today an elegant small town for retired people and summer visitors. The streets are asphalted, its neat country houses have well kept gardens and the public building are modern and functional in design. Four centuries ago it was a miserable little hamlet made up of clusters of dwellings that were scattered about like islands in the marshlands of the Landes. At the close of the sixteenth century, the family of Jean de Paul and Bertrande de Moras lived in one of these farmsteads called Ranquine. The house which pilgrims know today as “le berceau de Saint Vincent” has very little in common with the house where Vincent de Paul was born. But it is near the original site, nd in front of the dwelling is an ancient holm oak shored up with cement. This is a relic of a small number of trees (oaks, chestnuts and apple trees) which in earlier times would have been growing in the green space called the “airial” or “eriaou”. This opened out on to the collection of buildings comprising dwelling place, cowshed, pig sty, henrun….16

The landscape of the Landes district has changed a lot since the sixteenth century. At that time there would have been no dense pine forests or green plantations of maize. Alongside the river, stretched a narrow band of common pasture land, and above this was the arable land that was difficult to cultivate because of the sandy soil. Lastly, there was a vast stretch of semi‑desert land with a great number of stagnant ponds and treacherous clay pits covered by the vegetation so typical of that area. Here and there would spring up an oasis of greenery, bordering some tiny stream or buried in the depths of some hidden little valley. These were the outcome of a movement to colonise the Landes region which was begun in the Middle Ages and which received a new impetus during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.17

By the year 1581, the Paul Moras family was established in Pouy but the date of their arrival there is not known. The husband’s name was either John or William,18 and the wife was called Bertrande. Father John of the Blessed Sacrament, the first to write a biography of the saint in Spanish, made the observation in 1701, that the surnames were more Spanish than French, and he had a note to the effect that the family might possibly be of Spanish origin. This supposition is not unreasonable, given the fact that the village where the said couple lived is very near the border with Catalonia19. Evidently Father John’s ideas about the exact location of Pouy were far from precise but this does not weaken the argument.

Coste is inclined to think that the family took its name from the Paul brook, which at midstream crosses the main road leading from the house where Vincent was born, to the sanctuary of Buglose, or from a house of the same name that still exists in Buglose. However, there is a noticeable lack of documentary evidence to support this view.20

Leaving aside the question of birthplace, it is quite possible that the family was of Spanish origin. This is all the more probable21 if we remember that at the very time that the saint was born, a series of agreements called “lies et passeries” secured the free movement of people, flocks and merchandise from one part of Pyrenees to another. This guaranteed the right of French and Spanish people to trade with each other and allowed free access to territory even in times of war. The “passerie” decreed in 1513‑1514, was of such importance that people began to talk of a “Pyrenees State” and this situation lasted until the end of the eighteenth century.22 In such circumstances it is by no means improbable that Vincent de Paul had forbears who had emigrated from Aragon to France and settled there.

By 1581 the Paul Moras family had two sons; John and Bernard. After Vincent, who was their third son, came three more children ‑ Dominic, known as Gayon and Manion, and then there were two daughters called Mary. One of these would later marry Gregoire Delartigue, and the second Mary married Jean Daigrand who was also know as Paillole, which was the name of the house where he lived. Except for the eldest boy, all the brothers and sisters were alive in 1630.23 In those days six children weren’t considered a big family. It was a stable and patriarchal rural family that needed plenty of hands for the agricultural unit it represented.

“Decent and fairly comfortable for their station in life”

In his saintly old age Vincent insisted on playing down anything about himself, and over and over again be will dwell on his humble beginnings24 and lowly position in life,25 on his poverty and misery.26 If we were to take hiswords literally we would think that his family were almost beggars. This is certainly not true. Yes, they were peasants and as such belonged to the lowest echelons of a society, which in the Old Regime, was strictly hierarchical. But these peasants were their own masters. They were not simply hired hands or even tenants or tenant farmers. They owned small plots of land which might include woodland and arable fields, as well as a house and a farm with a variety of domestic animals such as sheep, oxen, cows and pigs.27 They belonged to that social class which writers have said reflected the true history of France at that period; a France where the basic social unit was the rural village.28 Collet states that even on their mother’s side, the family had the modest degree of social status which in villages and small towns was accorded to those who held certain minor offices. One member of the family had risen to the position of advocate in the Parlement of Bordeaux.29 On the father’s side there were ecclesiastics of relatively high standing: a Stephen de Paul who was Prior of the hospital of Poymartet,30 and a Dominic Dusin, an uncle of Vincent, who was parish priest at Pouy when Vincent was a boy.31

A humble family, yes, but in Vincent’s own words they were able by their labours to “live decently and fairly comfortably according to their station in life” and they could fulfil the divine precept to “earn their bread by the sweat of their brow”.32 As always in the country, this demanded the hard‑working collaboration of every member of the family just as soon as they were old enough to do useful work. In his old age Vincent will recall, with veiled tenderness, the diligent and self‑sacrificing activity of his mother and sisters. He will urge the Daughters of Charity to take as their model the virtues of good village girls which, he says, “I know about from experience and from what happened in my own family since I am the son of a poor farmer and I lived in the country until I was fifteen”,33 and he describes a scene which his young eyes must have witnessed countless times.

“The girls come home from work exhausted, to take a brief rest. They are tired and worn out, wet through and covered in mud, but no sooner have they arrived than they have to set to and work again if there is anything to be done, and if their father or mother tells them to go out again they do so straight away, without thinking about their tiredness or the mud, and without stopping to think what they look like”.34

With a stroke of his pen, Vincent evokes the frugality of the family table, in a way reminiscent of the pictures of peasant life painted by the Le Nain brothers or by Georges Latour:

“In the country districts where I come from, their diet consists of a grain called millet which is cooked in an earthenware pot. At meal time it is poured out on to plates, and all the household gather round to take their portion before they go off to work”. “Most people are often satisfied with soup and bread even though their work is constant and exhausting”.35

When Vincent paints an idyllic picture of the virtues of these country people he is no doubt idealising the situation and this is on two levels. Maybe he exaggerates the scarcity of food, but his sober descriptions are in singular agreement with the studies of modern social historians. His words are also immensely valuable for putting before us the circumstances of his family background when he was a child.

“I have kept flocks”

Vincent had to learn very early in life to bring his own contribution to this modest and hard‑working family. One particular work seems, by its very nature, to have been set aside for farmers’ children to do even from their earliest years: tending the flock, whether this was large or small. Vincent became a shepherd at a very early age. He looked after sheep, cows, and pigs, though later on when speaking about himself he would try to sell himself short by emphasizing the pigs.36 His contribution to the family’s resources was no small one. The shepherd is a key figure in the organisational structure of the Landes region where the main occupations were farming and cattle rearing.

We can imagine the young son of the Paul family, perched high on his tall stilts that enabled him to go safely about the swampy, muddy, land. He would be dressed in a heavy sheepskin coat, and would be leaning on a long stick whose forked end would provide a precarious seat during the interminable stops he was obliged to make while the sheep grazed at their leisure, or the greedy pigs rooted under the oak trees. Slung over his shoulder would be the leather pouch containing his meagre lunch, and the horn which he would blow when it was time to gather in the flock for the journey home, or to sound the alarm if he spotted a wolf.

He would have in his hand the country bagpipes that he played to while away the hours of solitude, or perhaps he would be carrying a spinning wheel which was another means of augmenting the family income. At least this is what social historians and folklorists have discovered, and it helos us, in our day, to reconstruct what the shepherd of the Landes district must have been like at the close of the sixteenth century.37 The shepherd might not always return at night. His search for good pastures could sometimes take him as far as Montgaillard, about fifty kilometres distant from Pouy. We know this because one day Vincent mentioned it to Persin de Montgaillard, the bishop of Saint Pons, thinking that the castle which gave its name to the prelate’s family was the Montgaillard in his part of the country: “I know it well; when I was a child I used to look after the flocks and I would take them to that place”.38 This mistake is a valuable one because it enables us to follow on the map one of the journeys made by our young shepherd and it helps us to realise the relative importance of the flock committed to his charge, for nobody would go that distance with just a few animals.

Was the Paul family a devout one? The conventional hagiography of those who first wrote Vincent’s biography would almost make us despair: “Their seeming lack of prosperity was made up for in piety, candour and innocence before God”, writes one of them.39 Another says, “Poor in this world’s goods but rich in heaven’s blessings”.40 Vincent will be more clear‑sighted and have less regard for convention when he paints the canvas of rural piety based on his childhood memories:

“Have you ever seen anyone with more confidence in God than good country people have? They sow their seed and wait for God to bless the harvest. It God allows the harvest to fail they still trust that he will provide them with food for the year. At times they have losses but, in their love of poverty and their submission to God’s will they say: ‘God has given, God has taken away, blessed be his holy name’. And provided they have enough to exist on, and that is something they never lack, then they are not concerned for the future”.41

This was the strong, elemental faith of Europe’s early churches that gave solidity to Western Christianity and which, at different times has almost miraculously caused certain ancient rural family trees to bear the tender flowers of sanctity that the world would come to know by the name of Joan of Arc, John of the Cross, Jean Marie Vianney or Vincent de Paul.

The flowers of childhood

Since Vincent was brought up in such circumstances it is not surprising that early on he showed signs of a piety that was both solidly‑based and intelligent. The witnesses interviewed by Abelly, remembered that when young Vincent was taking flour to the mill he would open the sack and give away handfuls of the flour to poor people he met on the way, and they recalled that his father, “who was a good man, did not take it amiss”.

At other times he would give away part of the bread in his shepherd’s pouch and on one occasion, having managed to save up as much as thirty sous (a fortune for somebody his age and in a region where money was scarce) he gave the whol lot to a beggar who seemed in particular need.42

Both early and later hagiographers, who were traditional in outlook, (and Coste is no exception), have seen in these accounts the unmistakable signs of a precocious charity that foreshadowed the lofty destiny of the future apostle of charity. The other extreme is shown by biographers who have set out to demythologise Vincent and have claimed that there is no historical proof for such stories, which they dismiss as figments of the imagination on the part of worthy peasants wanting to boost “their” saint.43 There is nothing in these humble narratives to make us doubt their authenticity. Basically, the charitable acts attributed to the boy Vincent, are nothing more than the docile response of a young and generous heart to his good upbringing in a christian family. That same environment would explain other pious traits often attributed to the young shepherd, Vincent, ‑ his frequent visits to the old, ruined sanctuary of Our Lady of Buglose, (the new one didn’t exist at that time) ‑ or the placing of a picture of Our Lady in the hollow of an oak tree in his father’s “airial” to offer her the homage of his prayers in this improvised oratory.44 It would be much more questionable to dismiss Abelly’s descriptions of the boy’s generosity, as simply the inclusion of these pious acts in his devotional work, to satisfy the popular taste for embellishment that people demanded for those they admired.

What we do know for certain is that young Vincent stood out among his brothers and companions for his keen, lively mind and for the quickness and inventiveness of his intelligence. His calculating peasant father saw this as an asset to be exploited. He decided to send him to study. In the closed, hierarchical society of that time, study was the only avenue to promotion open to members of the third estate, and this was especially true if study helped somebody to enter the ranks of the clergy.

In the neighbouring town of Dax, the Franciscans were in charge of a boarding school which was alongside a college which would be classified today as a secondary school. The boarding school fees were not excessive (seventy livres a year) but this represented a heavy financial burden for the hard‑pressed farmer from the Landes. Nevertheless, he thought it worthwhile making the effort. Jean de Paul had in mind the example of a Prior who had come from a similar social background and whose income from the benefice had vastly improved the financial position of his relatives. It was the year 1594, and Vincent was nearly fifteen years old. It was high time to take a decision.

  1. L. ABELLY. “La vie du Vénérable serviteur de Dieu Vincent de Paul…” (Paris, F. Lambert, 1664) 1.1 c.2 p.6. We must remember that Abelly does not specifically state 24th April; he only mentions the year 1576 and the day celebrated in the liturgy. It is very evident that this is no idle observation.
  2. “Obiit die vigesima septima septembris, anno millesimo sexcentesimo, aetatis vero suae octogesimo quinto” (ABELLY, op. cit., 1.1 c.52 p.259). The use of the ordinal number means that the years were not completed.
  3. See the complete text of the news item from “La Gazette” and Loret’s verses from Annales (1961) p.493‑494 and (1929) p.729.
  4. FR. COSTE. “La vraie date de la naissance de Saint Vincent de Paul”, offprint from Bulletin de la Société de Borda (Dax 1922) 23 pages.
  5. Here we have, in chronological order the list of statements quoted by Coste: 1.º 17‑4‑1628: This is a testimony about Francis de Sales’ virtues: “annos quadraginta octo aut circiter natus” (S.V.P. XIII p.19). 2.º 31‑3‑1639: The statement in abbot Saint Cyran’s trial: “âgé de 59 ans ou environ” (S.V.P. XIII p.86). 3.º 12‑10‑1639: Letter to Louis Lebreton: “J’entrerai au mois d’avril prochain en ma soixantième”: Next April I will be sixty (S.V.P. I p.593: ES p.575). 4.º 25‑7‑1640: Letter to Pierre Escart: “l’âge de soixante ans que j’ai”: I am sixty years old (S.V.P. II p.70: ES p.61). 5.º 21‑11‑1642: Letter to Beltrán Codoing: “J’ai… des expériences que soixante deux ans… m’ont acquis”: I have learnt from my 62 years experience and from my own mistakes (S.V.P. II p.314: ES 263). 6.º 17‑9‑1649: Letter to Étienne Blatiron: “le support… que je le fais exercer despuis 69 ans qu’il me souffre sur la terre”: He has had to be patient with me for the sixty nine years he has lowed me to be on this earth (S.V.P. III p.488: ES p.443). 7.º 27‑4‑1655 (= 5.º kalendas maii): Letter to Pope Alexandre VII: “Annun ago septuagesimum quintum”: am seventy five years old (S.V.P. V p.368: ES p.346). 8.º 3‑11=1656: During repetition of prayer with the missionaries: “pour moi, me voilà a la 76 année de ma vie”: I am seventy six years old (S.V.P. XI p.364: ES p.253). 9.º 6‑1‑1657: Conference to Daughters of Charity: “Pour moi, cela se va sans dire, ayant soixante et seize ans…” As regards myself, I am seventy six years old… (S.V.P. X p.252: ES IX p.851). 10.º 17‑6‑1657: Conference to Daughters of Charity: “Et moi qui, comme vous savez, suis âgé de soixante et dix et sept ans”: As you know I am seventy seven years old (S.V.P. X p.283: ES IX p.796). 11.º 15‑7‑1659: Letter to Cardinal Retz: “étant à présent dans la 79 de mon âge”: Being now seventy nine years of age (S.V.P. VIII p.26: ES p.28). 12.º 24‑8‑1659: Letter to François Feydin: Ressouvenez vous, s’il vous plaît, en vos prières d’un veillard de 79 ans”: Please, remember an old man of seventy nine in your prayers. (S.V.P. VIII p.91: ES p.82).
  6. Researchers such as A. POHAR, in his article “Octogenarius ille” in “Vincentiana” (1959) p.153‑155, and F. DEL CAMPO, in 1580‑1980. “IV centenario del nacimiento de San Vicente de Paúl”: Anales (1977) p.551‑555, recently accept the year 1580 as the date of St. Vincent’s birth. Another reason for accepting that year is that Abelly only gives the specific date of Easter Tuesday which was on the 5th of April that year, the feast of Saint Vincent Ferrer. Perhaps, for this reason, the child was called Vincent in honour of the Saint. Saint Vincent de Paul had a deep devotion to the Valencian Dominican who was like a second patron for him. Cf. ABELLY, o.c.., 1.3 c.9 p.94. J. DEFOS DU RAU accepts the years 1580 or 1579 as the time of Saint Vincent’s birth. “La date de naissance de Saint Vincent de Paul” (Auch, Frederic Cocharaux, 1958). Offprint of “Bulletin de la Société de Borda”.
  7. A. REDIER. “La vraie vie…” p.5‑7 and 16‑17. COSTE makes the same suggestion, but more cautiously in M.V. Vol.1 p.18.
  8. ABELLY. op. cit., 1.3 c.9 p.94. Coste thinks that Vincent de Paul’s patron is Saint Vincent de Xaintes, the first Bishop of Dax, and the principal patron of that diocese, who was a martyr in Spain according to the Roman martyrology. This hypothesis not only contradicts Abelly’s theories, but in accordance with local tradition, it contradicts the evidence that Saint Vincent of Xaintes was martyred in the place that bears his name, very close to Dax. If Saint Vincent of Xaintes were the patron of Vincent de Paul, Vincent would not have sought information from Spain about the saint’s life. José Herrera has argued very convincingly in favour of Saint Vincent of Zaragoza. Cf. J. HERRERA, “El santo Patrón de San Vicente”: Anales (1961) p.220‑223.
  9. Anyway, I judge Coste’s categorical statement exaggerated: “… the memoirs of Canon Saint Martin are not reliable” (M.V. Vol.1 p.37 in the note). The statement is repeated without critical examination.
  10. “Annales” (1936) p.705‑706.
  11. ABELLY, op. cit., 1.3 c.19 p.292‑293.
  12. P. COLLET.“La vie de Saint Vincent de Paul” (Nancy, A. Lescure, 1748) Vol.1 p.109.
  13. Ibid.
  14. ABELLY, op. cit., “Avis au lecteur”.
  15. The fact that Saint Vincent de Paul was born in France, and more specifically in Pouy, is not only supported by historians, biographers and devotees of the Saint, but it is authenticated by a long series of documents such as the leasing contract for Saint Leonard de Chaume’s Abbey, which was signed on the 14th of May, 1610. In this contract Vincent appears as “natif de la paroisse de Poy (sic), diocèse d’Aqs” (sic) (“Annales” [1941‑1942] p.261), notary’s document concerning the Saint’s tranfer of the property he inherited from his father, in favour of his brothers and nephews. This deed of gift includes the words: “natif de la paroisse de Poy, diocèse d’Aqs, en Gascogne” (S.V.P. XIII p.62). The complete list of documents can be found in COSTE. M.V. Vol.1 p.19.At the end of the XIXth century some people thought that Vincent de Paul was born in Tamarite de Litera, in the province of Huesca, Spain. This theory was based on ancient local traditions, and also the fact that many families in Alto Aragón were called Paúl and Moras. The first person to publicly defend Saint Vincent’s Spanish nationality was Professor B. FELIU Y PEREZ, from Barcelona. This defence is in the appendix to the Spanish translation of the book “San Vicente de Paúl y su misión social” of A. LOTH (Barcelona, Jepus, 1887). Dr. Felíu, Professor at the University of Zaragoza, instructed Dr. A. HERNANDEZ Y FAJARNES to write scientifically about Saint Vincent’s Spanish nationality. The fruit of his work was the book entitled “San Vicente de Paúl. Su patria. Sus estudios en la Universidad de Zaragoza” (Zaragoza, impr. La Derecha, 1888, 349 pages.). In “San Vicente de Paúl. Biografía y selección de escritos”, by J. HERRERA and V. PARDO (Madrid, BAC, 1950) p.35‑40, you can find a summary of Fajarnés’ theories. J. PEMARTIN vigorously refuted that hypothesis in a booklet entitled “Saint Vincent de Paul est né en France” (there is a Spanish translation). P. COSTE replies with ironic disdain (M.V. Vol.1 p.19) There is no foundation for the Spanish theory which has not survived.
  16. COSTE. M.V. Vol.1 p.20‑21: S. SERPETTE. “Le berceau de Saint Vincent de Paul” p. 12ss; COSTE. “Histoire de la maison de Ranquine avant le XIX siècle”, in the “Bulletin de la Société de Borda” (1906) p.334ss.
  17. R. CUZAGO. “Géographie historique des Landes, le Pays landais” (Lacoste 1962); “Parc Naturel regional des Landes de Gascogne” (Paris, S.E.T.O). William, according to the “Ristretto Cronologico” p.1 and Collet (op. cit., Vol.1 p.5).
  18. John, according to Abelly (op. cit., 1.1 c.2 p.7);
  19. JUAN DEL SANTISIMO SACRAMENTO. “Vida del Venerable Siervo de Dios Vicente de Paúl” (Nápoles 1701) p.2.
  20. COSTE. M.V. Vol.1 p.21.
  21. The corroboratory evidence collected by Hernández and Fajarnés was added to, around 1936, by the parish priest of Tamarite, José Merigó, and a lawyer from the same town, D. Joaquín de Carpi Zaidín, who wrote about the widespread usage of the surnames Paúl and Moras in the Litera region generally and in Aragón in particular. This evidence is overwhelming. Cf. FAJARNES. op. cit., p.99‑141.
  22. J.F. SOULET. “La vie quotidienne dans les Pyrénées sous l’ancient régime du XVI au XVII siècles” (Paris, Hachette, 1974) p.1.ª c.3.
  23. The Saint’s brothers and brothers‑in‑law’s names appeared, with some variations, in two notary deeds: the gift made inter vivos, 4th of September, 1626, published by Coste in S.V.P. (XIII P.61‑63) and the will, dated 7th of September, 1630, published in “Annales” (1936) p.705‑706. Coste was not aware of this.
  24. S.V.P. II p.3 and 51; IV p.215; VIII p.138; IX p.15; X p.681; XII p.21 270 279: ES II p.9 51; IV p.210; VIII p.126; IX p.34 1195; XI p.337 559 582.
  25. ABELLY. op. cit., 1.3 c.13 p.204.
  26. S.V.P. XII p.220: ES XI p.518.
  27. ABELLY. op. cit., 1.1 c.2 p.7; COLLET. op. cit., Vol.1 p.5; S.V.P. II p.3; IV p.215; XIII p.61‑63: ES II p.9; IV p.210; “Annales” (1936) p.705‑706.
  28. V.‑L. TAPIE. “La France de Louis XIII et de Richelieu” p.34; R. MANDROU. “Francia en los siglos XVII y XVIII” p.10.
  29. COLLET. op. cit., Vol.1 p.110.
  30. S. SERPETTE. op. cit., p.9.
  31. S.V.P. IX p.81; ES IX p.92.
  32. ABELLY. op. cit., 1.1 c.2 p.8 and 1.3 c.19 p.291.
  33. S.V.P. IX p.81: ES p.92.
  34. S.V.P. IX p.91: ES p.101.
  35. S.V.P. IX p.84: ESp.94.
  36. S.V.P. II p.3; IV p.215: ES II p.9; IV p.210.
  37. “Parc Naturel regional des Landes” p.22.
  38. COLLET. op. cit., Vol.2 p.195.
  39. COLLET. op. cit., Vol.1 p.5.
  41. S.V.P. IX p.88‑89:ES p.99.
  42. ABELLY. op. cit., 1.1 c.2 p.9; COLLET. op. cit., Vol.1 p.6‑7.
  43. A. REDIER. “La vraie vie de Saint Vincent de Paul” (Paris, Grasset, 1947) p.13.
  44. U. MAYNARD. “Saint Vincent de Paul” (Paris 1886) Vol.1 p.5‑7. With regard to problems about the sanctuary of Buglose, it was not known for certain that this sanctuary existed until 1620. cf. COSTE. M.V. Vol.1 p.25‑28. 45. ABELLY. op. cit., 1.1 c.2 p.6‑10; COSTE. M.V. Vol.1 p.29‑30.

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